When to open the brooder coop with MHP to run door?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Doc7, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. Doc7

    Doc7 Chirping

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    8F29DC1E-FDE5-436D-8A03-65A184DA1554.png 117A6765-50DE-4980-A147-231C79034D4C.jpeg F64EE7D6-B3CE-4EDB-876F-BA17A40A3FF1.jpeg C8EC3843-0728-44E1-8B48-D17FA2A97019.jpeg My chicks are in their coop (which, because they are my first chickens, is also my brooder! Fancy that.)

    Weather is in the 90s in the day and the 70s at night. The chicks are 8 days old and snuggle under the heating pad at sundown.

    How long until I can unscrew the door to the (predator proof) run? I don’t want them to get mixed up and not go in for food and water or supplemental heating under the MAma heating Pad while I am at work.

    There is a tarp over 80 percent of the run so it is almost fully shaded during the day.

    Shortly after the same time as the chicks are ready for this step I want to put the waterer outside of the coop also.

    I know on Saturday at 6 days old they had no interest in jumping onto that ramp so that could be a ways away yet.
     
  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

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    Your weather is good so that shouldn't be an issue. My main concern would be to make sure they know how to use the ramp. Pick a day when you'll be home or have some time to check in on them and let them out and see what they do... ideally you want to see them going back inside to eat, drink, or warm up.

    I started letting my chicks out of their outdoor brooder at a little past 2 weeks. They figured it out pretty quick. My brooder is on the ground though so there's no ramp to deal with.
     
  3. Unexpected chicken lover

    Unexpected chicken lover Crowing

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    Flying predators would also be a big concern. How much of the run is covered?
    I'm paranoid after losing 9 3 week olds to a pair of hawks while I was cleaning the brooder quite a bit away and my 6 yr old was chick sitting... She's traumatised
     
  4. Doc7

    Doc7 Chirping

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    The run and coop are covered entirely in 1/2” hardware cloth with no openings larger than 1/2” anywhere including the top. A tarp is laid on top of the hardware cloth on top for some shade.
     
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  5. Doc7

    Doc7 Chirping

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    Just some follow up questions. This Sunday should be a nice sunny 92 degree day so I do plan on having the coop door open.

    Should I expect the chicks to go inside for food and water right from the beginning or do you think I should build another set of feeders and waterers to keep one in the coop and one in the run when I am not around? I am more than willing to put the chicks (who will be 3 weeks old at that time) inside the coop at night time if they didn't go in at dark, but my primary concern is that I am gone from dawn to almost dusk every weekday, so I can either only train them to go in and out on weekends and keep them locked up whenever I'm not around (and typically we have a packed schedule on weekends also) or I am leaving them to their own devices, expected to go in and out of the coop and run for food, water, mama-heating-pad usage, and manage staying out of any pop-up thundershowers. (which all they need to do is not go in the 10% of the run that doesn't have a tarp over the top).
     
  6. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

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    If you can find even a few hours to be able to check in on them then I'd see about training them to use the ramp, and then checking that they're actually using it without you having to direct them up and down. Actually at their age they might be able to just fly up and skip the ramp entirely.

    If that really is impractical (being able to check on them for half a day, and I know life sometimes gets super hectic) then yes I'd keep a feeder and water in the run for now, so they at least have access to that. With the hotter temperatures they won't need the heating pad during the day - mine just stretch out in a sunbeam - so having it just in the coop is fine. I have mine fully off heat now (3 1/2 weeks).
     
  7. MROO

    MROO Crowing

    Unless they're with Mama, my littles don't go out until they're about three weeks old. It's not the age that decides when, it's how feathered out they are. I don't like putting little fuzzies out on their own. I don't have a real reason other than that I trust their ability to self-regulate better. Again though, unless they're with mama, they aren't outside unsupervised.
    If you're worried about the ramp, put a couple of stepped boards or logs in front of the door - or along the sides of your ramp. Sometimes, hopping up and down is easier for them than running up and down a ramp.
     

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